As much as Port United tried to, you can’t coach against speed.
United held their gloves up to Coastal Premier League competition heavyweights Coffs City United on Saturday despite a 4-3 defeat that has now seen them slip to third on the ladder.
The Port Macquarie side led the competition only a fortnight ago, but back-to-back losses have seen Boambee and the Lions rein them in.
Lions coach Glenn Williams admitted it wasn’t their prettiest victory although it was effective after his team completed their fourth game in 11 days.
“We created a lot of chances and should have put the game out of reach but we didn’t,” he said.
“It wasn’t one of our best performances, but sometimes you’ve got to take three points even when it’s ugly.
“Like I say when I’m playing golf – you can’t always paint a picture on a scorecard.”
The Lions’ Joel Hampson found the back of the net twice along with Chris Dooley and Addison Mallett while Mitch Higgins, Matt Bale and Jack Pilgrim scored United’s goals.
Three Lions defensive errors were swiftly punished.
“Sometimes you don’t punish mistakes but they certainly did. They were good; they tried to play footy,” Williams said.
United coach Nathan Wade said the Lions’ 4-2-4 formation caught them by surprise.
“I thought we were in the match and we matched them everywhere else except for when the ball got hit over the top … they were too fast,” he said.
“Normally we don’t have a problem with anyone with speed because we’re pretty quick at the back but they were leaving us behind.”
They will be disappointed at the result although United know they can match it with the best sides in the competition.
“Nobody likes to lose but I can’t fault the effort and they’re definitely the best side in the comp and we were close,” Wade said.
“We’ve got something to work on and aim for.”
In other matches Port Saints kept in touch with the top four following a much-needed 2-1 win over Sawtell.
Kempsey Saints registered a surprise 2-0 win over Coffs Coast Tigers while Northern Storm held off Macleay Valley 2-1 at Kempsey.
A much-improved Taree Wildcats pushed competition leaders Boambee all the way before the Bombers came away with a hard-fought 3-1 win at Omaru Park.